Seahawks come alive in 4th quarter to beat Bengals 21-20

Sep 8, 2019, 4:17 PM | Updated: 6:48 pm

Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett...

Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett's 44-yard touchdown gave Seattle the final lead last week. (Getty)


Over the first three quarters of Seattle Seahawks season opener, they did just about everything to cause concern about their chances to do something significant in 2019.

Seahawks 21, Bengals 20: 710 reacts | Photo gallery | Stats

Like a procrastinating student with homework, however, Pete Carroll’s Seahawks teams always do their best work in the fourth quarter.

Tyler Lockett’s 44-yard touchdown reception opened the fourth quarter, giving the Seahawks a four-point lead that turned out to be just enough for them to hold off the Bengals for a 21-20 win at CenturyLink Field.

The Seahawks struggled in their secondary and in pass protection, allowing the Bengals to hang around, but there were of course brights spots in the comeback victory. Such as:

• New DE Jadeveon Clowney made an impact from the onset of the game.
• Rookie WR DK Metcalf caught four passes for a team-high 86 receiving yards.
• DT Quinton Jefferson had a pair of sacks, three QB hits and two passes defensed.
• Chris Carson had 81 total yards of offense, ran for a touchdown and caught another.
• Russell Wilson finished 14 for 20 passing for 196 yards, two TDs and a 134.6 rating.

Here’s a quarter-by-quarter look at the game.

First quarter

Bengals 3, Seahawks 0

Jadeveon Clowney, the Seahawks’ gigantic trade acquisition for their pass rush, made his presence felt right away. But he and the rest of Seattle’s defense had to spend a lot more time on the field in the first quarter than the Seahawks wanted to see.

On the first Bengals series of the day, Clowney earned a pass defensed on an Andy Dalton throw intended for Joe Mixon. And early on in the second series, Clowney’s name kept getting called due to his constant QB pressure and impact on run defense.

Despite Clowney’s strong start, Seattle’s defense couldn’t get off the field midway through the quarter – to no fault of its own. Cincinnati was forced into a punt, but Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton made a rookie mistake by running into Bengals punter Kevin Huber, giving the visiting team a fresh set of downs. Cincinnati was able to turn that into a 39-yard field goal by Randy Bullock to take the first lead of the game.

There was bad news right away on offense for the Seahawks, too. Not only did Russell Wilson and company go three-and-out on their first drive of the season, but center Justin Britt was knocked out of action on Seattle’s second play when second-year tight end Will Dissly’s knee collided with Britt’s knee. Seattle dodged a bullet, though, as its longest-tenured and likely best offensive lineman was back in for Seattle’s second series.

Not that it got much better on that second Seahawks offensive drive. Wilson was gobbled up by Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap for a sack and loss of 11 yards, and Seattle had to punt again. The Seahawks’ fortunes turned on that punt, however, as rookie linebacker and UW Huskies product Ben Burr-Kirven forced and recovered a fumble by Bengals returner Alex Erickson. And on the next play, Seahawks running back Chris Carson gained 9 on a pass to the flat from Wilson.

CIN – Randy Bullock 39 FG, 2:52 (3-0 CIN)

Second quarter

Bengals 17, Seahawks 14

The Seahawks’ offense giveth and the Seahawks’ secondary taketh away.

After Seattle took a 14-10 lead inside the final minute of the first half, Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton took a deep shot towards the end zone. Seahawks safety Tedric Thompson mistimed a jump, and John Ross made an easy 55-yard touchdown catch to give Cincinnati a three-point lead going into halftime.

Before that, just like a Seahawks penalty opened the door for the Bengals to take the lead in the first quarter, a Cincinnati penalty allowed Seattle to score its second TD. A shove by Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick after a Seahawks incompletion on second down inside the two-minute warning gifted Seattle a first down near midfield, and on the next play Wilson and rookie wide receiver DK Metcalf sent the entire Pacific Northwest into a frenzy with a long 42-yard pass.

Carson did the rest, running for 3 yards and then finding his way into the end zone on a 10-yard pass play from Wilson to give Seattle a 14-10 lead.

While the Seahawks’ offense didn’t look so hot in the first quarter, there was a flash of hope early in the second. Seattle took its first lead at 7-3 with a seven-play, 48-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 1-yard Carson plunge into the end zone. Carson had an 11-yard run earlier in the drive, while a pair of young players who the Seahawks are looking to assume big roles in the passing game, Metcalf and second-year tight end Will Dissly, each had a reception go for a first down.

Seattle’s unproven secondary didn’t put up much of a fight to protect the Seahawks’ initial lead, unfortunately. The Bengals needed just three plays to take the lead back on a 33-yard TD reception by Ross. The former UW Huskies standout paid tribute to his time on Montlake by throwing up a ‘W’ hand gesture at the end of the play.

Injury note: Cornerback Neiko Thorpe, a standout on special teams, was ruled out for the rest of the game with a hamstring injury.

SEA – Chris Carson 1 rush, 6:36 (Jason Myers kick, 7-3 SEA)
– John Ross 33 pass from Andy Dalton, 5:12 (Randy Bullock kick, 10-7 CIN)
SEA – Carson 10 pass from Russell Wilson, :52 (Myers kick, 14-10 SEA)
CIN – Ross 55 pass from Dalton, :07 (Bullock kick, 17-14 CIN)

Third quarter

Bengals 17, Seahawks 14

The Seahawks’ first half was bad. The only thing that kept the third quarter from making it worse was the Bengals’ inability on offense to take advantage of what its defense gave it.

A missed 45-yard field goal attempt in the rain by Bullock prevented Cincinnati from adding to its lead, but the Bengals continued to win in just about every other way after coming back out of the locker room.

Carson fumbled the ball away on the first play from scrimmage of the second half. Seattle then couldn’t manage a first down on either of its next two drives, with constant pressure on Wilson being the main reason. Not only did Wilson barely have time to think when he dropped back to pass but he was sacked on back-to-back plays to begin Seattle’s third series of the quarter.

The Seahawks’ offense had its own missed opportunity after their defense came up with a takeaway, too. After Carson’s fumble, Seattle got the ball back three plays later as defensive tackle Al Woods sacked and recovered a fumble by Bengals QB Andy Dalton (a play that almost as easy could have been called an interception). Seattle, of course, went three-and-out with the ball back in its possession.

Woods had another big play, stuffing Cincinnati running back Giovani Bernard on a fourth down attempt that gave Seattle the ball in its own territory.

Seattle’s offense finally appeared to find its footing late in the third quarter, as Wilson floated a running pass to Metcalf, who made a circus catch for 25 yards.

No scoring.

Fourth quarter

Seahawks 21, Bengals 20

Nobody has ever accused the Seahawks of being fast starters. True to form, they went into the fourth quarter trailing by the Bengals by 3 and immediately it was like a switch was flipped.

Two plays after Wilson connected with Metcalf late in the third quarter, he found top receiver Tyler Lockett on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 44-yard touchdown, putting Seattle in the driver’s seat 21-17. Not only was it Lockett’s only catch of the day, but it was also his first target of the day.

The defense looked like it was going to follow suit after defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson sacked Dalton for the second time to open the Bengals’ next series, but Cincinnati’s drive was kept alive with a little help coming in the form of a neutral zone infraction by Clowney. Bullock eventually hit a 39-yard field goal to bring the Bengals back within a point.

Seattle was forced to punt the next time it got the ball back, but the defense returned the ball to the Seahawks’ offense with two passes batted down at the line of scrimmage, one by linebacker Mychal Kendricks and another by Jefferson, making the Bengals punt themselves.

With the clock ticking down closer and closer to the two-minute warning, the Seahawks turned to Carson to keep it moving. He did exactly what they asked for and more on a third-and-1 play, not only getting the first down but breaking several tackles on his way to a 21-yard gain, the longest run of the day for either team.

The Seahawks stalled out in their own territory, but the Bengals didn’t get the ball back until just 21 seconds were left in the game, and Seattle’s defense stopped them to clinch the win.

SEA – Tyler Lockett 44 pass from Wilson, 14:53 (Myers kick, 21-17 SEA)
CIN – Bullock 39 FG, 2:48 (21-20 SEA)

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